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Blog Entry

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

Posted on: April 30, 2011 10:44 am
Edited on: April 30, 2011 10:48 am
 

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Cenral Florida’s recruiting prowess over the past year was no coincidence.

According to a report by Pete Thamel of the New York Times, UCF used a convicted felon with ties to a sports agency to help recruit marquee high schools players.

Kenneth Caldwell fits the profile of a runner perfectly. The Chicago native says on his LinkedIn profile that he is a recruiter of players for ASM Sports. Andy Miller, who runs the agency, denied the claim, while an associate of the agency told Thamel that Caldwell worked for them. Various comments by Caldwell on social networks also seemed to tie him to Justin Zanik, vice president of ASM Sports.

Pat Forde of ESPN.com was also on the story, and DePaul head Oliver Purnell told Forde that Caldwell and Brandon Bender – a former high school star who played at Louisville for a semester – tried to establish themselves as middlemen to Purnell when he arrived in the Big East.

“They are two of several guys who, when we got to Chicago, said, ‘Hey if you need players we can help you,’” Purnell said.

The reports highlight the relationship between Caldwell and three UCF recruits: basketball players Kevin Ware and Michael Chandler, and football player DeMarcus Smith.

Ware has been the subject of many recruiting stories over the past couple of weeks due to his constant decommitting and recommitting. With Thamel’s story, it now makes more sense.

Ware and his family told Thamel that Caldwell allowed Donnie Jones and the other UCF coaches to patch themselves in on conference calls, which is illegal contact and prohibited by the NCAA.

When Thamel informed Ware of Caldwell’s background, he decommitted from the Knights.

“I’m pretty much just disgusted,” Ware’s mother, Lisa Mack, told Thamel. “Who dreams of something that’s supposed to be about the kids and the achievements he’s received to this point to receive a scholarship? It has been made something dirty. I feel violated.”

Chandler was another player with a whirlwind recruitment. The Indianapolis big man committed to Louisville and Xavier before settling on UCF. Caldwell apparently has ties to Chandler, and the NCAA is currently investigating his recruitment to UCF.

Smith had a strange recruitment as well. He was originally committed to attend Louisville, but signed a letter of intent to attend UCF. His high school coach, Louis Dover, told the Times that Smith was harassed into signing his letter of intent to UCF.

“It’s completely ridiculous,” Dover said. “The whole situation is disgusting.”

Six players from Caldwell’s hometown of Chicago attend UCF, including three from Whitney Young. As Forde noted, Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter is also the director of the Ferrari Youth Basketball AAU program, where Caldwell was an assistant coach at one point.

Caldwell considers current UCF player A.J. Rompza “almost a member of the family,” and also has a son who attends UCF.

For his part, Jones denied that UCF has an associated with Caldwell or Bender.

“I hate it that the perception is that we’re getting these players because of association with people like [Caldwell and Bender],” Jones told Forde. “Those guys have never asked me for nothing.”

Caldwell said he’s a supporter of UCF athletics, but there’s nothing shady going on with him and the Knights’ coaches 

“I don’t make any money off basketball,” he told ESPN.com. “Nobody’s done anything wrong. UCF is just a school that I like. Ain’t nobody ever heard of UCF. Now they have a little success, and they’re not supposed to? UCF gets some players and people act like there was extra help? That’s bulls---.”

How does Bender figure into all this? Aside from being Caldwell’s friend, Bender is an AAU coach and has an association with former Louisville football player Rodney Carter.

When Bender was at the Derby Festival All-Star Classic last week, Forde said he was hanging out at the players’ hotel before getting kicked out due to his reputed ties to an agent.

Braeden Anderson, who committed to Kansas in early April, apparently has ties to Bender. It is worth noting that Anderson committed to DePaul before Purnell began to hear different things about Bender and Caldwell. Once Purnell severed ties with the two, Anderson decommitted from the Blue Demons.

When he reopened his recruitment, Anderson spent time at Carter’s house in Louisville, according to Forde.

There’s a lot to swallow in these three reports, but Ware’s stepfather summarized it well.

“There’s a lot of things that have happened in this process,” Wesley Junior told the Times, “that a lot of kids could learn from.”

I’m sure the NCAA is interested in learning about it as well.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Tags: NCAA, Recruiting, UCF
 
Comments

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: May 3, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

Inconsistent could be interpretted as prejudiced, but your term is correct.  Many teams in the SEC hate Tennessee for being tattletales while they have always been just as bad or worse than other teams in the SEC.  Over the years, they have gotten off easy several times. They fired Fulmer because they were losing.
I don't think the NCCA is picking on UCF, I only meant I do not trust them.  They may a mole hill into a mountain.  I hope UCF is innocent and this goes away.  Again, if they listened in on Ware's conversations without his knowledge that was wrong and very stupid.  I hope that is not true.
No doubt you know more about the Louisviille HS football coach.  Still, I think he would have rather his kid go to Louisville over UCF.



Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: May 3, 2011 9:42 am
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

The NCAA (to me) is very prejudiced.  
I don't think they are  prejudiced, just very inconsistent.
They punish some like Charley Pell and the Gators with the "death" penalty when they let some programs like Tennessee (crybaby tattletales) and Ohio State off the hook.  The big boys and teams already in BCS conferences will do all they can to keep teams like UCF down and under their thumb.
There probably is some level of truth to this statement, although both of those schools are getting their due right now.  Tennessee fired their coach and Ohio St is under all kinds of scrutiny now with Tressell.  However, in this situation, if the coaches were on conference calls with the recruits, it's a blatant rules violation and they should be punished.  UConn lost two scholarships, IU is still recovering.  So, I wouldn't just say the NCAA is picking on UCF.



Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: May 3, 2011 9:39 am
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

I appreciate ftballfan calling me "Sonny" as that is funny.
In all seriousness, Louis Dover is known as Sonny Dover.  I've been friends with his family since high school.



Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:15 pm
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

I appreciate ftballfan calling me "Sonny" as that is funny.
Bottom line, all schools should investigate anyone who is as zealous as this guy.  I am sure if UCF had done so, they would have seen he was a felon.  I don't say that to condemn him, but he has a record.  If UCF eavedropped on conversations with Ware without his knowledge, that was wrong.  Not only wrong, but very stupid.  I cannot believe Coach Jones would have done that.  If he did or anyone on his staff did so, they should have their hands slapped and really be dressed down by the AD.
I went to UCF, I follow UCF, attend games (football and basketball), and I want them to move up with the big boys, but I want it done the right way.  By and large, I think we have done so.
The NCAA (to me) is very prejudiced.  They punish some like Charley Pell and the Gators with the "death" penalty when they let some programs like Tennessee (crybaby tattletales) and Ohio State off the hook.
The big boys and teams already in BCS conferences will do all they can to keep teams like UCF down and under their thumb.



Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: May 2, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

 The funny thing is that a lot of these players were committing to Louisville and then went to UCF.  Why were ALL of these players going to Louiseville?
Bender still resides in Louisville and is getting to these kids when they are in town on "unofficial" visits I would assume.  Also, we all know these kids talk with one another.
Both are almost to the point where they need armed bodyguards to even ENTER the commonwealth of Kentucky these days
They are welcome in my neighborhood any day.  Where there is smoke, there is generally fire and smoke has always surrounded John Calipari whether it be wrong or right.  
Like the Eric Bledsoe story.
I'm not sure why this is relevant.  The AL Board of Education determined that there was insufficient evidence to change Mr. Bledsoe's grade.  They stated in there were not sure why Mr. Bledsoe was allowed extra credit, nor did they see any proof that the work was done.  They also didn't acknowledge that he didn't do it as well.   So, they just decided to leave the grade intact.  Doesn't mean he was given the grade, doesn't mean he didn't earn it.
lost the respect of many college basketball fans across the country
contrary to popular belief, KY fans don't make up the entire college basketball fan base
They came sniffing around UK's house and got smacked on the nose like the yappy dogs they are and sent on their way.
They will be back.



Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: May 2, 2011 12:06 pm
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

One, Louis Dover is a high school coach fron louisville who, most likely, would like to see his QB play for Louisville and he is just spouting out sour grapes.
Actually, that couldn't be further from the truth.  Sonny, aka Louis Dover, is a Kentucky fan.
If the guy, Caldwell, can convince kids to go to any school and he does not get paid, what is wrong with that?
Read Pat Forde's article.  It provides a little more detail.  Apparently this guy is a runner that has ties to an agent.  That is where the problem lies.  Bender is the AAU coach that has an AWFULLY big mouth.  He's been bragging in the area that he is going to be an assistant coach at UCF in the very near future.  Trust me, Bender is a vain individual.  He believed he was going to go straight to the NBA after his Junior season of basketball.



Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: May 2, 2011 9:24 am
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

Weather we like it or not there are plenty of these so called talent advisors that sole purpose is to solicit money for delivering a kid to a certin university. Rudy Gay was set to go to the University of Maryland until UConn made a donation to his AAU team and so he changed his mind and signed with the Huskies. At the time this was considered within the rules of the game but the practice is shady and should be banned.

Maryland basketball has suffered but Gary Williams has refused to get in the gutter with these types of talent brokers. These decisions should be made between the player and the universities that are recruiting these kids. There are plenty of legit agencies that help a kid and their family with the recruiting process. This guy was nothing more than your typical urban street hustler who it appears that UCF was willing to deal with. Im sure if you look around the country there is plenty of these types trying to make a quick buck off a kid that doesnt know better and im sure the family gets a little something in the end.

UCF is trying to go big time so the pressure is on to make their programs as good as they can be in a short period of time. The fastest way to do this is bring in the best talent you can find quickly. Im not saying rules were broken to make this happen but the way the NCAA operates is that once they see a program gaining in stature they usually think corners were cut to get there. I would not be surprised to see an investigation at some point down the road.



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: May 1, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

Hey "justaguy49" (somehow I doubt that), do you have anything you'd like to share about Calipari that would validate your stupid comment ?? For the record, that facts are Calipari has the same number of NCAA infractions as Dean Smith, Coach K, and John Wooden....ZERO......so, you know something we don't ??

I thought not........probably Thamel in disguise........



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: May 1, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Forde & Thamel

These are two worms that have lost the respect of many college basketball fans across the country because they run stories that have just enough fact in them to make great headlines; but frequently there isn't much more than the headline. Like the Eric Bledsoe story. Both have been picking the fly crap out of the pepper against Kentucky for three freaking years (without anything to show for it I might add)......they are rapidly losing credibility as reporters. Both are almost to the point where they need armed bodyguards to even ENTER the commonwealth of Kentucky these days.....they are known and instantly recognized by the Big Blue Nation......not really a good thing for them. Not surprising that they would be shifting their focus elsewhere. They came sniffing around UK's house and got smacked on the nose like the yappy dogs they are and sent on their way.

Forde is a well-documented Pitinophile; he is a nausiating shadow of what he was when he worked for the Louisville Courier Journal. Thamel.....well, he is just nausiating......



Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: May 1, 2011 1:16 am
 

Reports: UCF used man with ties to agent

THIS IS NOTHING WORSE THAN WHAT COACH [CHEATER] CAL HAS BEEN GETTING AWAY WITH FOR YEARS AND YEARS....OOPS........IM SORRY.....HES IN THE BELOVED AND CAN DO NO WRONG SEC.....MY MISTAKE  


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